Rebalance After Birth
Submitted by: Margaret "Mags" Matthews, MPT
Neck, shoulder, back, and pelvic pain; perineal stitches and scar tissue; numbness in hands; fatigue; flaccid belly; incontinence; running to the bathroom constantly. These were just some of the issues I have been dealing with since having a baby 5 months ago. I know many women who still deal with similar issues 30+ years later. Even though I have worked with women and babies for 15 years, all my wisdom and knowledge on self care flew out the window during and after birth. Traumas of childbirth, sleep deprivation, and actions caring for a baby create new problems, and may worsen problems we may have had before.
Practicing some self care helps us enjoy family life, prevent future injuries, and celebrate the miracle our bodies have done. One simple technique you can do right now will take just 30 seconds. Sit or stand tall reaching your feet and sitting bones into the earth like roots. Stretch your arms and fingers out wide like leaves reaching for sunlight. Keep the head tall and breathe in deep. Exhale, grow taller through the spine and relax the arms down. Breathe again, this time let your ribs and chest open and rise. Repeat as many times as you like!
This enjoyable stretch opens the spine and shoulders to reduce nerve compression and rotator cuff problems. It balances the pull on neck, chest, shoulder, and back tension. It increases oxygen to the brain and body, reduces blood pressure, and elevates the mood. If you can do all that in 30 seconds, imagine what you can do with more time! Take a walk, go to an exercise class, share a massage, use pillows and supports when feeding and snuggling with your baby. Have an orgasm!
As a Women’s Health Physical Therapist, I specialize in treating all women including the most severe cases of how a body can go awry during childbearing/rearing. This includes back pain, compressed nerves, diastasis recti, pubic symphysis separation, perineal tearing, and incontinence. I also teach parents about positioning and self/partner care before, during, and after birth. Seeing a Pelvic Physical Therapist after birth to helps women recover faster and reduces problems like pain with sex, prolapse, back pain, and incontinence down the line. If pain or discomfort are keeping you from ease, please seek professional help from a medical professional you trust.